September 26, 2011

Page 10

Living in Jefferson County

by K.P. Guessen

My head is really buzzing with memories associated with fall. Bear with me, as I pour some of them onto the page. Hay rides are almost obsolete. Now, they are found in the corn mazes to entertain us. I remember when churches always had hayrides in the fall. I enjoyed the rides, singing and telling stories with a picnic as the destined end goal. It was always in a scenic meadow, complete with creek, or tucked into the woods, like an oasis in the desert. The sights, smells and sounds still fill my head, these many years later. In high school, the Y-Teens started the school year with a trip to the local dam, on wagons driven by tractors, and stuffed with hay. The nights were cooler then our fall nights are now, so it was necessary to cuddle up next to a date to keep warm, even then, blankets were still necessary. At the picnic, huge bond fires were blazing, as the wagons unloaded their fare. The fun continued, as we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows on the glowing fire. Songs and stories were the entertainment of the night, and the ride home by moonlight was magical. From freshmen year to senior year, the event was looked forward to by most Y-Teens.

Hayrides were events enjoyed by boy scouts and girl scouts, when my children were growing up. But that was not the only events of the fall season, for these groups. The Girl Scouts always had a fall camping event. It was one or two nights, and very primitive. We staked our tents to the ground (two per tent), and build a common campfire. We cooked hotdogs, beans, potatoes and added the ever delicious "some-mores". The smells were delightful and the tent raising bearable, as our lips and taste buds connected to those "some-mores". Let me tell you, no one can cook a "some-more" like the Girl Scouts! I remember well, the fall of the torrential rain. We had filled our "bellies" with the delicacies cooked on the fire, told our ghost stories, and sung into the night. We were snug in sleeping bags and pup tents. We had no clue what was ahead, for suddenly, without warning, the rain came pounding down around us. We woke up as our tents were swept away, leaving us in mud, and I do mean a lot of mud! We slid to the small covered picnic area, and huddled together to wait for morning, when we could find our tents and belongings, that had washed down the bank. We were wet, cold and muddy. The rain was relentless, as it continued to blow our way. I was glad it was my older troop, and not my younger Scouts. Needless to say, on hind sight, I find humor in our reactions, but at the time there was nothing humorous about the, "night the rain gods showed their might".

Ah, and then there was a special fall encounter for my Cub Scouts. My little troop of "brave" Scouts wanted to go to a haunted house. It was a real house, made "haunted" during October. It had quiet a reputation for "scaring the pants off" anyone brave enough, to wonder through the doors. Well, my boys were brave, and for several weeks, I was privy to hearing just how brave they were. When we arrived, they were resolved to "laugh in the face of horror". That lasted about two minutes, or until the first cold fingers reached out for them. I was wearing a trench coat, and suddenly I found my brave Cubs were hiding inside it, with a death grip on my body. Two boys dropped to the floor, grabbed my boots and "hung on for dear life". I literally drug the group through the entire haunted house. I was laughing so hard at their squeals and behavior, I was in jeopardy of creating a different kind of scene. When we got to the end of our journey and the boys saw we were exiting, they flew from under my "wings" and ran down the ramp to "safety". Little did they know the "Texas Chain Saw Maniac" was waiting half way down, adding one more element of surprise. 

Fall is such a fun time, with cooler weather and fun activities for all ages. It is a time "ripe" for making memories... and "ripe" for remembering!

A Must Read

Review by: Jake Depew

Goosebumps and Shivers
Halloween is not too far off, and that means there are tons of books to read that fit the holiday mood. For younger readers, there are some great books out there that are entertaining and scary, yet retain a younger reading level. Typically, the Goosebumps books are seen as the “scary” books for elementary and early middle school students, however there are other choices that may better fit your young reader.  The Goosebumps Series, though popular, is not my first choice.  I have always been an avid reader of anything creepy or scary, so, from experience, I can say that the Goosebumps series is not nearly as scary as people make it out to be. In elementary school, I discovered the Shivers series. These books were scary, fun to read, and quickly became a favorite series of mine. If your child enjoys reading and is looking for a book to fit the Halloween season, just pick up one of the many Shivers books. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter which of the books you buy: I cannot remember a single one that I did not enjoy. While Goosebumps tends to favor gross imagery, Shivers delivers its scares with actual psychological horror: creepy set pieces and mysterious characters abound. Keep in mind, though this series is intended for children and is not "over the top" in hard imagery, each parent must assess their own child's readiness for the genre.  I recommend this series to any young readers who need a good scare to liven up their Halloween season, and I hope this series is as much a companion to these children as it was to me.

Looking Out My Window
By: Moons

Looking out my window, at the acorns and walnuts falling from the trees, I was struck by feel of the season changing before me. As the acorns fell to the ground, the bushy tailed squirrels scampered around the tree, playfully chasing each other, in some kind of secret game. The birds flew about in excitement, as if they were aware of the time, when they would fly south, in migratory waves in the sky. The burning bush was tipped in red, preparing to fully show her scarlet dress. The air was a little more crisp, than summer mornings bring. There seemed to be fewer insects flying about my garden. Perhaps they were busy finding a new place, for the queen to reside for the winter. This beautiful, tranquil morning, I was hypnotized by the serenity of the scene, and when I thought it could get no better, it did. I heard a deer call, from the woods behind my house. It was beautiful and blended with the quiet world outside my window. And then, I heard a second deer, calling back from another area of the woods. And then I heard another... and then another... and then another. It was as if I was surrounded by a gentle herd of deer, and the feeling was pleasant. The deer carried on quiet a conversation, with much back and forth calling. I listened, wondering what might be in their message. Were they also preparing for the cooler months ahead, or were they just enjoying the quiet, calm, crisp morning? As I basked in the mood of the morning, a deer emerged from the woods, followed by another deer... and then another... and then another. Five deer, in all, came out of the woods, onto the grassy lawn, and slowly crossed the road. What a delight, the deer fit perfectly, in the morning scenario outside my window.

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